Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Saturday of catching up

This is finally our weekend to catch up.  Catch up on work.  Catch up on emails.  Catch up on chores.  Catch up on fixing up.  Catch up on sleep trying to sleep.  Last night was Friday and Irina and Yana went to the skating rink with a friend.  For our family, we do not give allowances.  1)  there are too many of them & we'd go broke and 2)  FAS children have an extremely hard time w/ both counting money and managing it.  Instead, we allow our kids to do various things when asked by friends.  We also will spontaneously buy them a "big item" they've wanted for awhile out of the blue.  Anyhow, yesterday they went skating w/ their friends and had a great time.  Max is going nowhere and doing nothing for awhile.  Grounded for grades.  And it is not due to lack of knowledge but a lack of motivation...aka laziness.  Plain and simple.  More on him later.  So, just the girls went and had a good time.

Trouble came when we forgot to give Irina explicit instructions on what you can and can't have.  You have to remind FAS children over and over again.  Just habit for us but due to an inconsiderate barking dog, Warren and I have not gotten much sleep this past week.  Whole neighborhood is out for this dog.  LOL.  So, we forgot to remind Irina.  We were wondering why Irina acted like she was a squirrel on speed when she came home.  It was NUTS!!  Turns out, she had a Monster drink.  Umm, not a good idea for her brain chemistry.  Remember, she's severe OCD.  She started scrubbing the kitchen when she got home at 11:30 at night. URGHH!!!  She was up till 3am.  NEVER again will she ever be allowed a Monster drink.  Irina is also not allowed to drink coffee for obvious reasons.

This morning I woke Alyona up & her & I went out to go to yardsales.  Beyond awesome finds!  A much needed rug for Irina's room.  Many outdoor toys for the kids b/c my kids need to keep active.  It's vital for them.  It's one of the things I always tell other FAS parents.  We found 2 new skateboards today, a nice scooter, basketball, & a pogo stick.  A bicycle & little picnic table for the "littles" as well.  And, something I have been begging Warren to make for years.   You all may find this silly but well, I don't care.  I have always wanted one of those sets of wooden reindeer for the front yard.  Don't ask me why.  I have no idea why.  Alyona & I spotted those & that was it.  Thought we'd hit a jackpot.  LOL.  Our car was FULL after just an hour.  Went home to wake Warren up for work but he was already working upstairs here.  Unloaded and went back out w/ Alyona and Irina.  Found even more stuff.  Kinex sets and air hog remote control airplanes for the boys.  In the boxes still.  Umm, they can not even open them till we sort the upstairs tomorrow.  That's the deal.  Call it a bribe if you will but it is what it is.  We're sorting clothes this weekend as well as the boys are going back to the 7-7-7 rule.  Girls and I had fun.  Then, we came home about 9:30.  Kids were excited as we had donuts and bananas for breakfast.  Yum.

We then went to work.  All of us.  Cleaning.  Lots of it.  Tired of our yard looking like a junk yard.  Warren fixed up the playground a bit and the pool.  Kids and I cleaned up the yard.  Max weedwacked.  We even got a little more play sand today.  Just productive for sure.  Pool stuff put away for the summer.  Lovely day. 

Tomorrow we intend to do even more.  Warren is building a new bike rack as ours is destroyed.  Lots of usage.  He also has to fix a flood light outside.  Other than those two things, the rest of the day will be spent upstairs sanding walls and patching them.  This will become Alyona & her sisters' new room.  Can't wait for sure.  I'm in the mood to decorate a girlie room.  I feel our house is finally getting organized and it's a great feeling.  Getting rid of stuff we don't need or selling it. 

Tomorrow evening, the younger kids are going to a play rehearsal for the first time.  HOpe it goes well.  It is for the Christmas program at church.  Right after that, the teens have youth group.  Then, our week gets super busy.  I'm still working everyday but Wednesday, surgery day.  So, I'm having to think of projects to keep all kids busy as we won't be doing our regular routine stuff as Nik will be home & I'll still have to tend to him.  I canceled an IEP meeting this coming week as I think it would just be a bit much to the already over filled plate.  So, we have a pre-op, post-op, surgery, chiropractor, chorus, speech therapy, social security office visit, setting up 2 more IEP meetings, etc.  In other words, busy week next week.  Ready to have it behind us already as I know it may get chaotic as that is only about half the list of what we have to do.  I'm trying to also get a photo book together for a friend to take to Serbia with her when she goes.  In addition, write a letter about Bojan to give to the caretaker and to his birthmother.  So, next week my posts may get a little skimpy.  Lots going on.  Warren is also going to be taking the teens to a "Fear Farm" here for Halloween.  They've never been & there is one local where people from all over come to see.  I'm a big chicken so no, I'm not going.  Thought it would be something fun for them to do.  Now, we're also trying to plan the annual Halloween party a bit.  It is also an orphanage fundraiser.  Only this time, we'll be able to deliver the items to the orphanage ourselves!  So, two separate parties to plan for that.  We will also be going to a local farm for a fall festival.  The party for the teens will be a dinner for all ...spaghetti w/ eyeball meatballs & other various goulish goodies.  Then, they will go outside to watch a movie.  Of course it will have to be scary.  LOL.  Popcorn & goodies as well.  This is for the teens and their friends.  This will be our first time doing this w/ the teens.  We'll see how it turns out.  We allow them to invite however & whoever they want.  All we ask is they bring an item to donate.  New.  Such as one new pair of socks or a new pair of underwear.  You can get them at the dollar store.  Most though end up bringing a couple packages and it really helps immensely.  I'm told underwear and socks are needed for the older kids in Bulgaria so that is what I'm shooting for at their homes.  Younger home still thinking of stuff.  Younger kids will be having a party too.  Theirs is usually bobbing for apples, pinata, and toilet paper mummy wrap.  This time though, no pinata as the candy has gotten just outrageously priced.  younger kids dress up and usually have so much fun.  Great to see.  We even had them doing the limbo in costume one year.   Hilarious!  Good, clean fun.  We love Halloween here as it just seems to bring out the kids in everyone.  Okay, more to come on here but need to go work on that Bojan letter. 

Enjoy your weekend.  Hey, if anyone is looking for something to do, come by with a paint brush in hand.  LOL.  We'll be here all day tomorrow.  Keep you posted on Chaos Manor happenings later in the week. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Flabulous to Fabulous

Okay, it's time to do these posts again and definitely time to get back in shape.  I fell off the wagon folks.  It happens.  BUT, this time I'm ready to tackle the weightloss game full force.  Biggest Loser is a huge motivator as well as the fact that my cousin lost 140 lbs and is loving life.  Plus, my neighbor tipped me off on a thing that she started doing and so far she's lost 27 lbs.  So, it is good ol' diet and exercise for me.  In addition, have to get serious about the calorie counting.  So, my neighbor joined an online group called caloriecount.about.com.  You can track everything on there.  It's free and she said it really became an eye opener for her.  So, today was my first log in day.  And,though I really wanted a snack, I looked at my calorie count and figured there was no way that was happening w/ still saving room for dinner.  So, I've had water but still very hungry. LOL.  It tells me to keep the calories at 1400 a day.  Will even log in your exercising results and such.   Can't wait to see how it will work for me.  I'll keep you all posted on progress.  I plan to weigh in every Friday.  Exercise program will be getting more intense for me for sure.  I did cardio this week but not everyday like I had hoped.  I can't wait to track my progress.  Got to go.  More in a bit.  Kids just got home but waiting for the other bus that Bojan is temporarily on to come home.  Our yard is NOT conducive to getting him up & down that hill.  It's nuts.  More info coming soon.  I can just say it is never dull around here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

I thought it was high time I got back to doing my thoughtful Thursday posts.  For those of you new, I do this as I think it is imperative as an FAS parent to find at least one good thing each child does every single week.  Our kids are used to getting redirected, in trouble for lack of cause & effect thinking, etc. that they also need to hear the good to balance it out.  I usually do one specific thing that each child does.  However, with this past chaotic week, I did not have the opportunity to pay as much attention.  What I can say though is that I witnessed an incredible amount of caring and compassion this week. 



All the kids were upset b/c Bojan would not be able to eat at the table with us.  See, we have a large pub style table so it sits up really high.  They were all concerned that Bojan couldn't join them.  So, since his bed is in the dining room until all this is over, they decided to join him on the bed.  We made them take turns as to not have them all on there & bumping his leg.  Don't ask why Ms. Priss is in a nice dress eating chili of all things.  

This week they have been there whenever Bojan needed anything.  Max was so afraid Bojan would wake up in the middle of the night & we wouldn't hear him, that the first 2 days after surgery, Max slept curled up in this little ball on the recliner.  Not a comfortable bed for sure.  Every single child of ours has done all they can for Bojan and met every one of his needs.  Amazing.  Also, very refreshing to see.  Makes me proud.  Means maybe we did indeed teach them something.  Who knows.  All I know is they were all extremely thoughtful this week.  Bojan was thoughtful as all he wanted to do was help us with the party.  I let him blow up balloons as that was about all he could do.  He was just concerned about Nik having a good time since it was Nik's day.  Again, a thoughtful thing to do...think of someone else when you yourself just had surgery.  

That was my thoughtful Thursday and I promise to keep up with those again.  Now, onto homework and dinner stuff.  Max is all out of whack and falling asleep.  In the midst of this past week of chaos, I had forgotten to refill Max's script.  You can not auto refill it either as it is a class 2 narcotic.  Lovely.  So, onto calling the neuro tomorrow and begging for an immediate script.  See, last month we took the 3 month script into be filled and they refused to do the 3 month and only filled it for a month.  Bummer.  Now, he's all out whack.  Haven't forgotten a script for quite awhile.  Just was not good timing.  It will all work out.  Another IEP meeting scheduled and I will update school happenings soon.  Some awesome things and some not so awesome.  Enjoy your week and much more to come on here. 

Hanging onto summer

Well, we thought it was getting cooler but as everyone else in NC knows, weather temps can change in a heartbeat.  Temp is climbing up to the mid- 80's again which isn't bad.  We're just all a bit ready for the 60/ 70 degree days again.  Today I took the "littles"(for those new here, I babysit during the day) to the park today.  It was just a gorgeous day for it.  They did great so we're planning on going again soon.  My kids are still hanging around outside.  Yesterday they did bike races down the hill in our yard.  Always looking for bugs or critters, playing on the swingset, playing on the trampoline or just hanging around.  Here's a few from outside.


Alyona posing for the camera.  She can climb to the top for sure.  The boys actually have climbed on the top beam!  


Alex, gettiing in on the climbing action as well.  And no, that is not usually where that trampoline is.  Otherwise, they'd climb to the top & jump off onto the trampoline.  It was moved there to mow.


Enjoying a friend's new puppy.  Very cute and I must say, we all now have puppy envy.  We all melt when we see puppies.  It was very difficult after Aspen died as we had always had two dogs in the house.  Bear seemed very lonely yet we were afraid he wouldn't do well w/ a new puppy.  So, we never did.  Bear is our "alpha dog" and that's the way it will stay for awhile.  Meantime, we can ooh and ahh at other new puppies.  
Pool was a bit too cold to soak in.  So, we decided to put up the slip & slide, a baby pool, and some kitchen bowls.  All worked well I think.  Water and kids typically will come together as fun.  This was on the day when I had the 17 kids here.  I needed some of them outside.  LOL.  

Yes, we hate seeing summer coming to an end as we are very outdoors people.  We love it outside, we really do.  With the end of summer though, we welcome in cool breezes, hot cocoa, candy apples, jumping in leaves, etc.  Putting on flannel pajamas and curling under a nice warm comforter.  Though that does make it extra tough to get up in the morning and get ready for the day.  

Enjoy your week everyone.  Weekend is almost here.  Many more posts to come.  But, speech therapist is on the way & I have to go pick up Bojan from chorus practice. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A friend needs help....

I know that we ourselves are trying to raise funds for an adoption of our three kids.  However, I feel it is our duty to help others especially when they are so close to bringing home a child.  I have a friend.  She has been a "cyber friend" for many years.  So, yes she is indeed real.  LOL.  How did I "meet" her?  Well, her children happen to come from the SAME orphanage as Bojan did!  Small world, huh?  Well, they have adopted 2 children and are in process to bring their 3rd child home from this same orphanage.  A rarity at best in Serbia.  They usually only allow one child to be adopted from that country.  They have been blessed beyond measure w/ the two wonderful kids they have.  These children have thrived in their care!  It is amazing to watch them in pictures and see the change.  Their little girl has cystic fibrosis.  Their little boy has some unique issues as well and recently got his wheelchair to give him a bit more independence.  This is something that most likely would not have happened in his country.  How do I know this?  Because when we picked up Bojan, he had a leg that was way to small by a few years.  Could barely walk.  The little boy they are about to adopt has Cerebral Palsy.  He will undoubtedly thrive beyond measure in this loving family.  They are to leave in November.  They can not leave unless they raise the rest of the funds to bring him home.  They are just $3800 shy of this life saving event.  I know that sounds like a lot but with just a few people donating it will happen.  If you have a chance & you decide not to order that Starbucks this week or not to get that McDonalds, would you mind instead donating to this family?  This is truly a life changing event.  This child is destined to a life at a mental institution otherwise.  I can not imagine that happening.  If you yourselves can not donate, can you please consider writing about this family or sending some emails out.  They live modestly but in a house full of love.  Here is a link to where you can help save this little boy's life:  http://www.reecesrainbow.org/sponsorseverson.html.

Thanks for letting me share about Tammy and her wonderful family.

What to do if...

you witness an accident w/ a van full of kids.  A few weekends ago we were on our way to Peacehaven, a community farm.  We were running late.  I know you all are thinking to yourselves, surprise, surprise.  We stopped off to get some things to eat and a new cake.  The old one was  a nightmare.  So, loaded back up and on our way.  Warren decides to wave a tow truck in our lane as we know how hard it is for a big vehicle on this road to get into traffic.  Waves him in and the truck overshoots.  Wham, right in front of us.  No one hurt, typical fender bender w/ a little more damage as these were bigger vehicles.  Tried to explain to the kids what had happened as we knew we would now never make Peacehaven in time.  Now, this was a non-emergency accident.  So, people called the police & they told us they'd be here soon.  Umm, over an hour later as they were at an injury accident.   Understand but the 7 kids in the back did not quite get that.  So, we all tried to pass the time. 


Fortunately, while at the grocery store, for some reason I decided to pick up a bag of apples.  This was step one to occupy time...eating apples.  We are parked, it's 95 outside and all are trying to stay busy.  


Another shot of what you do while you wait...nothing.  Glad we also picked up water at the grocery store while there.  We waited till we got warm and then put the air on for a little while.


What would a wait in 95 degree heat be w/out a little drama from some of our FASers?  Alex is sitting by himself right now where he can be seen.  Patience is not their strong point though we try.  


Alyona and Max waiting outside the van for a bit.  Max was admiring the tires so he could draw them later.  The lady from the tow truck even gave him paper and a pen to draw w/ . She was very sweet.  Found out later she was adopted too.   When we left she told us we were angels for doing what we do.  We have to disagree.  We are by far not angels.  Anyone could adopt.  Well, maybe not anyone.  But those who can should.  I could really do a whole post on the comments we get sometimes and I'm sure other adoptive parents get all the time.  For us,we adopt b/c we feel that these are the children we were meant to have.  Faith and fate intertwined.  Okay, can't get into all this or this post will be non-ending.  I will do a post on adoption comments though one day.  Just think it's interesting that even in an accident, we connect w/ someone who has a connection to the spirit of adoption.  


If you think it's hard for 7 kids to wait patiently in a hot car for over an hour and 15 minutes, try 7 special needs kids & 6 of them FASers.  That is a test of a parent's patience for sure!  Those of you who have children w/ FAS know exactly what in the world I am talking about.  But, we survived and w/ only very minor issues.  Sooo, for being so good, not complaining that we weren't going to the farm to work(keep in mind, transitions don't sit well w/ kids w/ FAS), and not doing anything stupid, we decided to surprise them on the way home with Wendy's Frosty's.  I think they were pleased w/ the outcome, don't you?  We love Wendy's b/c they support adoption.  Right now, you can pick up 10 jr. Frosty coupons for just a $1.  Go support adoption if you can and get a wonderful creamy treat.  

BTW, if my kids are ever interviewed in an accident after it happens, we're in trouble.  LOL.  Each and every single one had a different answer as to what happened in front of us.  I have many more posts to catch up on and will eventually.  I have some good news on Max's school situation!  Will explain tomorrow.  Got to get a few more kids in bed. 

Surgery pics (part II)

thought I'd finish posting the last set of surgery pics when we were home.  Left off w/ how we get Max to go into a calm state.  Onto some more items.


This is Nik after he had started to melt down.  He doesn't like anyone seeing him cry so he always hides behind or under a blanket.  Red spot on his hand is just a misquito bite.  


Alex is slowly calming down.  It takes him awhile.  The tears just don't seem to stop flowing once he gets started in one of his episodes.  Kids w/ PTSD react differently.  Alex gets deeply saddened at the thought of someone getting hurt.  He's afraid they will die.   The joke in that card from yana & Max did NOT help matters.  URGHH.  Why I didn't proofread like I usually do, I'll never know.  


Once Bojan was home from the ER, Irina perked right back up.  She knew everything would be okay and mellowed out from there.


This is Alex that evening returning to his old self.  Took some time but we finally got there.  


Hey, if wrestling to get the laundry to the washer helps get them out of their rut, let them do it.  Seriously.  We were all up late last weekend trying to process everything so rules were not all the best.  Sometimes, you just have to let them let loose and hope it helps w/ the situation at hand.  It did.


Really has nothing to do w/ PTSD or RAD or anything else.  Just thought it was a cute picture.  Nik's at it again this time w/ pretzels.  Hey, at least they're smiling this time!  This was more like the minute rule rather than the ten second rule.  

All in all, we survived the surgery and all the drama and chaos that comes w/ it when you have a house full w/ past traumas.  This weekend we have nothing planned and for good reason.  We need a break.  Not only that, the girls' room has to be done.  The following week though we have Nik's surgery.  That should go smoother than Bojan's surgery did.  Not only that, I'm hoping we don't have the drama from my kids w/ PTSD.  We're trying to prep everyone now as to not have to worry about it.  YOu just never know w/ some of these disorders how things will turn out. I think that is one of the harder things for parents w/ kids w/ mental health disorders.  You just don't know what may happen next in a situation.  Nothing you can do usually to prevent it.  You can try.  Staying calm through whatever arises is critical.  You somewhat have to detach yourself what they are going through.  Hope that made sense.  

Got to run.  Lots to get done & have to pick up Bojan.  Bus still isn't ready for school.  Maybe tomorrow.

Bits & pieces

Since the surgery has taken almost all my posts up the last few days, I figured I'd catch you all up on some Chaos Manor happenings and adoption news.  Okay, our dossier is in Bulgaria.  Bulgarian agency has requested we redo our medicals so that the date of the medical exam & date of the letter are all the same.  Also, due to NC changing the child abuse clearance check law & then changing it back, we have to add another letter to that.  I'm clarifying a few things first and hopefully will get both those underway tomorrow.    Hoping w/ those two pieces that they requested, then we can submit the dossier.  The big question is whether or not they'll let us submit our dossier w/out the I-800A approval.  Some families are doing this, some aren't.  Don't have a rhyme or reason as to why some can and some can't but in adoption, you go w/ the flow and try not to be resentful.  I know that sounds horrible, but truly who wouldn't want to get on over there and meet their children to be as soon as possible?  So, we have to wait and see.  IF we are able to go ahead and submit, I am gathering from other families that travel happens rather quickly after the referrals are given.  IF we have to wait for I-800A approval, travel is a ways out.  Our appt. for biometrics is Oct. 26th.  Listening to others, approval takes about 2 weeks after that.  That brings you into mid-November.  Only time will tell how this all plays out.  I just know I'm anxious as everyone else that is waiting during an adoption.  Just ready to go.  LOL.  I'm this way w/ every adoption.  Then, I get to the travel date and wish I had more time to prepare.  So, I get these two things done... again, then it is onto waiting some more.  I have heard various things about being able to get USCIS prints done early but don't know how true that is.  I will definitely give it a shot.  That's for sure. 

The house.  Oy.  Well, roof is still a mess.   Just needs to hold till spring if at all possible.   Doesn't look possible though.  Good news is the big leak was coming from the upstairs toilet.  Warren ripped the wall down and got that fixed & taken care of.  We have also realized for awhile that there is no way this home will be big enough to house us all in  a few years.  There was a home they did this past week on Extreme Home Makeover for a family that had adult children w/ Downs Syndrome.  That is exactly what we need.  The house was awesome as it had individual "houses" w/in  a house.  Each one unique.  With many of our kids not able to live independently once adults, this would be ideal.  So, we are trying to fix our home up as we can and plan on putting it on the market in the spring.  We are hoping we'd be able to build but also know there are no guarantees in today's market w/ lending and such for new construction.  Playing it by ear.  New dormer windows are on order.  It is a triple window for the front top of the house.  Though we installed the garage windows w/ friends on our own to save money, there is no way w/ the angles that we can do this one w/out a professionals help.  The rest of the windows we can patch on our own.  The garage ones and the triple dormer window were rotted beyond repair and would eventually effect things structurally so we had to do something. 

Health wise.  I think I've reported enough about Bojan.  LOL.  He's doing fine now.  Post op is this coming week.  One thing I haven't said is we've found a lump on his chest.  It is not a normal thing, that part we know.  We discovered it the night before surgery.  well, Bojan did.  So, getting that checked out as soon as he's healed up w/ this a bit.  My uneducated guess is a cyst of some sort.  That's an easy fix if that's what it is.  Time will tell. 

Max is very healthy.  He loves working out w/ weights now.  He's still eating like a horse but he is 15yo.  Not over weight at all and doing great health wise. 

Alex.  Alex is overall healthy.  He has started to gain some weight.  max did the same exact thing at his age.  See, he and Max are on some very potent meds.  One of the side effects is weight gain.  Some kids on these meds have gained as much as 100 lbs in a month!  That is why our kids are monitored every 3 months by the neurologist.  So, we are watching his weight gain closely but seems to be happening like it did w/ Max.  Preteen age mixed w/ the hormones, mixed w/ the brain chemistry changes of the meds make things interesting.  Neuro is not worried either about Alex's "pudge" and said it's normal at 10/ 11 years old to do this.  His friends come over and they look the same way!  Just our family has to make sure it's not the meds you know?  Anyhow, he's definitely NOT sedentary.  cAn't get the little bugger to sit still to save my life. 

Nik.  Nik is also very healthy.  His asthma seems to be non-existent.  He is on singulair but I'm not the best at giving it to him every night.  Asthma seems to effect him more in winter than summer anyways.  Nik's surgery is coming up but save that till next week.  Nik doesn't seem to have eczema any more either.  He is also healthy. 

Alyona has grown but still not much.  I'm just happy she's out of the toddler sizes finally.  Alyona is healthy as well. 

Yana is healthy and runs almost daily a couple miles.  She wants to join track & is well on her way I'd say.  She is thin but not a deathly thin, just a runner's thin.  Trust me, she eats.  LOL.  

Irina is okay.  She has severe sinus issues and has already had major major sinus surgery & other things done to her nose.  We were told her bone was broken. Remember, she came from an orphanage that could not take them to the hospital for emergencies b/c they did not have a car. We bought them a van for our orphanage donation/ fees.  This was years ago in a remote village.  Can't do that nowadays.  Anyhow, her broken nose & stuff has caused her major issues w/ breathing.  Again, she's already had 2 surgeries but can't rule out another surgery in her future.  Our biggest concern w/ Irina right now is massive weight gain.  We're talking a couple pounds a week.  Neurologist said it's not the meds.  True, she's been on the same meds for years and nothing ever happened before.  We just had her to the regular doc and they tested her thyroid but it was normal.  So, may head to endocrinology.  She's not eating mountains of stuff to justify the amount of the weight gain.  So, trying to figure it out.  Anyone run into this before, do send ideas my way.  It' s making her very upset for sure, especially since her sister is in a runner's body right now.  Just want her healthy, that's all.  She's still as active.  I'm sure we'll figure it out soon. I just don't see how the doc's aren't concerned at all about it. 

Bear is doing okay.  He seems to have slowed down a bunch since last weekend.  We never did take him to the vet to see if he had a stroke her not.  Right now,he seems okay.  He is spending more time outside now that it's cooler.  We love our Teddy Bear. 

We're hoping to go this week or next week to fix Irina & Max's social security card mess.  We will then find out which agency knows what they are talking about... social security administration or immigration.  See, immigration told us all we need to fix their social security cards(so they don't read like their illegals), is a US passport.  Called SS office this week.  Passport wont' do. They need naturalization papers.  Umm, we don't have them & immigration said passport would suffice to prove that.  Our kids (2 of them) came home before the Citizenship Act of 2000 so they do not have a COC.  I'm sure it will get interesting at the social security office.  We both must be present.  I can't go on my own w/ the kids.  Keep you all posted how that all turns out. 

More going on here but those are a few items.  School is  a huge one so I'll get to that in a separate post. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Surgery pics (part I)

I wanted to share a few pictures with you as I think they tell you a little of what we went through.  As parents of children w/ various mental health disorders, it is a big deal every time we have some sort of "event" at our house.  So, wanted to give others a peek at what it may be like if you have some children w/ things such as PTSD, RAD, FAS, etc.  It effects the whole family unit when something happens, not just one person.  The night before Alex was a basket case.  He really was. 


I know you can't tell by the picture but this is Bojan.  He agreed to sleep w/ Alex to help calm Alex's nerves.  It was the night before surgery.  & yes, most my kids will sleep 2 to a bed despite having their own beds.  Buried in comforters.  I have given up ever having matching sets at the same time.


this is Alex.  Asleep.  It took him awhile but once Bojan agreed to sleep w/ him, he was okay.  And yes, my kids sleep in their clothes.  They have pajamas but for some reason, always grab another shirt.  Hey, if they're clean, I shouldn't care.  This was nice though of Bojan to help Alex out.


This was when he first got home.  Trying to figure out how to get him in the house. He's 90 lbs. btw.  Yana is waiting in the background to see him.  She & bojan are rather close despite them hating each other for about a year.  Thank goodness that's over.  Now, they joke around all the time.  


Now, I will explain a little more of what you are seeing in this photo as it is more than meets the eyes.  You are seeing the beginnings of a meltdown.  Bojan was just wheeled in.  Alex is holding the bag & keeping his distance.  You can tell by the look on his face, it's not going to be good.  He's clearly upset.  In the background, Nik is sitting in the little chair behind the wheelchair.  His hands are above his head.  Nik does this every single time he's upset...raises his hands above his head.  He is about to cry soon.  Irina is taking it all in making sure he is truly okay.  You can click on any picture to get a bigger view.


In this picture, you can tell Irina is now okay about Bojan having had surgery.  Later, when he starts profusely vomiting is when she gets panic stricken again.  Here, she's fine.  Nik is still keeping his distance, very unsure of everything happening.  Alex is stepping a little closer to check things out while getting ready to touch Bojan.  Big step for him as that is when he usually loses it.


Nik and Alex are still backed off from him.  Bojan is starting to read some cards that were given to him.  


And...it's starting.  Nik & Alex's faces are getting red & they are on the verge of losing it.  Bojan is reading a card from his sibs & 2 of them signed it w/ "I hope you don't die."  (okay, have to know this was meant to be funny & Bojan got the joke as he was laughing.  It was from a movie line that he likes so he understood that.  Alex & Nik, they did not.).  


This is Max in the garage.  I won't even comment on the garage disaster.  Suffice it to say, it has been a sore spot in this marriage for years.  The garage area is NOT mine.  partly to blame for this mess is Max.  Anyhow, back to the story.  Max reacts to sadness w/ anger.  He was getting very, very angry & we knew we had to get a handle on that right away. Not that we weren't trying to settle Bojan into the house, handle Nik's meltdown, handle Alex's meltdown, and cook dinner.  No, not that we were busy.  LOL.  But, when they get this way, you slowly think through your best options for the present. You do NOT, do NOT think about anything else or what may happen later.  FAS kids live in the here & now & when one is about to rage or be angry, you get that under control first.  Max was getting ready to be on the edge, we could tell.  Now, to break him out, we have to focus him totally on something else.  So, made him go to the garage, search for tools to put Bojan's bed up in the dining room.  Kept him busy, he forgets he's angry, calms, and all is well in the world so to speak.  

There is more to come & more I have to say about certain issues.  I think it is important for others to see how we handle things some times to diffuse a situation b/c maybe it will help them out.  Have a great evening everyone & will post part II tomorrow along w/ the pics.  I'll also have a mini adoption update.  

Nik had a field trip today.  Oh, what was awesome, he came home & told me, yes, he signed tome that the kids in the class sang him Happy Birthday.  He actually started to have a conversation w/ me!  I was SO, SO happy.  

BTW, I have a ton, ton of people to write back.  I am getting to everyone slowly & apologize.  So, if you've written to me & I haven't written back, I promise I'm trying not to be rude.  In Chaos Manor the kids come first.  Life happens.  Trying to decide if I'm sending the teens on a church pilgrimage in November.  I think it may be good for them but still truly worried.  We'll see.  More on all that stuff later.  In the beginning when I started blogging, I was afraid I'd have nothing to say.  Now, there is not enough time to say it all. 

Surgical Update #10 (final update)

Thanks so much for all the well wishes this past weekend. It really did mean a lot to us.  A couple of Bojan's friends have even visited over the last few days. Nice.  Bojan is feeling better.  Today was a no pain med day so we are great.  This past weekend was indeed rough but we all made it through.  Warren worked from home today which helped.  Well, that was until Warren fell while taking Bojan down the stairs in the wheelchair.  I came around the corner & honestly didn't know who to pick up first until Warren mumbled Bojan.  Bojan was upside down in his wheelchair w/ leg up in the air.  Warren was face down on the side walk all scratched up and bruised.  Both are fine now, just sore.  We hadn't had the chance yet to build the ramp we needed.  Hopefully, soon.  I'm still questioning how in the world I'm going to get him in the van after school tomorrow.  Have to do it until the bus is ready.  Do they know when it will be ready?  No.  So, we wait. 

Bojan goes back Oct. 12th to see how he's doing.  Can't wait to hear.  Well, I need to get going.  Much going on this evening as far as signing various papers for the schools.  Alyona just told on Nik so better go see.  More coming soon. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nik's party pics (part II)

I left off with the pinata.  It was such a gorgeous, gorgeous day outside.  All week it had been pretty rainy.  What I forgot to tell you all is shortly before this pinata, Warren searched for a place to put it out back as we usually hang it on the swingset.  Ground was drenched.  We're talking standing water in the yard.  It  rained but really should have been down a bit more than that.  However, Warren took a look over in the pool.  Water level was falling fast.  It had to be fixed and ASAP.  So, in the middle of the party Warren had to leave to go and get a part to fix the pool.  We like to add drama to any event we do.  LOL.  Anyhow, after the pinata we headed in for some cake and ice cream.  there is some history in the cake.  Irina decided to "help" me out.  She made it wrong and it was way too sticky.  I tried to ice it and it started to come up on the knife.  I had to think fast as guests were to arrive in about 5minutes.  I made some of my homemade icing to smooth over it and cover it w/ "dirt"(aka...crushed oreo cookies).  I think our messed up cake turned out okay.


Here is a picture of the cake gone wrong.  I put it on the table and realized Yana put the candles on it.  Umm, he's NOT 10 dear, he's 8.  She looked puzzled until I started plucking off the candles.  


This is Nik after he blew out the candles.  His hair is a mess but clean.  What I realized in midst of chaotic pre-party prep is he hadn't had a shower and was actually in the same clothes as the day before.  (I blame it on a surgery.  Umm, yes, that's my excuse for not bathing my son).  Told him to go get a bath super fast and he did.  Yana helped him pick out clothes.  URGHH.  He came down wearing boxer shorts for shorts.  I said Yana he can't wear that for a birthday party!  sometimes in this house, it would be faster to do it all yourself than let your children help. 


Nik tearing into his presents.  BTW, the little girl by his chair is the one he talks about all the time.  He refers to her as "my Ava."  They are not in the same class this year but do see each other still.  


Nik loved opening presents and his friends were very generous.  He has played w/ everything non-stop.  

After the present opening, they all just ran around the house or went outside and played.  It was great.  They all had a good time I think.  Nik has some nice friends.  He really does.  There were just 10 kids there so not bad.  Well, 10 plus my 7.  Being that I am going ot have 10 kids, I don't see that as such a big number any more.  Strange really.  Even though we had a bit of a hectic day, we enjoyed Nik's excitement and fun of a party.  Thanks to everyone.  Happy 8th Birthday Nik.  thanks for letting me share.

Nik's party pics (part I)

I took a few pictures from his party.  After a long night of literally of no sleep, we had to get stuff done.  I set off to Dollar Tree w/ Irina and Nik to pick up a few things.  Well, they had balloons there and Nik was screaming w/ delight when he found out I was going to let him get not just one balloon, but ten.  He just could not stop smiling.  He got his favorite color....orange.  He was driving us nuts w/ excitement and just getting a tad out of control so I decided it was best to take him back home.  Remember, we had just gotten up and still exhausted from all the chaos of Bojan going to the ER, kids w/ PTSD falling apart, house being a disaster & just about anything else you can think of.  I got home and balloons were almost hoisted away to the clouds.  Nice save on Irina's part.  Got the balloons all tied up outside on the porch and mailbox.  Nik was proud.  Just a symbol of his day.  Nothing says birthday like a kid & his balloons.  LOL. 

Anyhow, inside Warren pulled me aside & told me he think Bear had a stroke while I was gone.  He seems okay now and we're leaving him go.  But he was very clingy yesterday and just layed in the same spot all day.  We have NOT told the kids of the possible stroke Bear had.  And we will not.  Sometimes as parents of traumatized kids, you have to make an executive decision on what info to share.  So, though IRina wanted to go back w/ me to finish the shopping at Walmart for the party, I took Warren instead so we could talk some about Bear.  Went to Walmart trying to think clearly for the first time in hours.  Got what we needed and went home.  At this point, I truly thought all my kids would be dressed.  I was livid when I got home.  I think they saw the smoke coming from my ears I was so mad.  I mean really, 15yo and you're sitting on your lazy butt doing nothing!  URGHH.  Yana was in her pajamas, while Irina was doing ALL the cleaning.  Max was off working so he was not there during the day.  All the things Yana could have done to help, she did not.  Nothing.  Not a thing.  Keep in mind, at this point we are an hour before people are start to arrive and NOTHING is done.  No decorations, no cake finished, no party bags, no containers set up for apple bobbing, nothing.  So, going off the little adrenaline I have left, I start barking orders.  Yes, that's what it sounded like, just ask my kids. 

Bojan really wanted to help.  Yes, despite the surgery the day before, the ER visit, and very little sleep, he still wanted to be a part of Nik's party.  So, we tried to think of tasks he could do.


Balloon blowing was one of them.  


Nik put his touch on things too.  It was very buggy.  This sideboard is now at the opposite end of the dining room due to Bojan's bed being on the opposite side of the dining room now.  


I didn't have time to deal w/ Alex nor the FAS scatterbrained stuff that was going on that day.  So, I knew I needed to give him a mindless task to keep him busy.  So, he is scraping the cream off the oreos so that we can then take the cookie part & crush it into crumbs to make dirt for the cake.  Notice Bojan's bed in the background.  Not idea but we're great at improvising here.  


Here's Nik bobbing for apples.  Some of the kids figure out the trick early on...grabbed onto the stem.  Of course, most of them just like getting wet.  


Nik swinging at the pinata.  All the kids got a few good hits in but it was ultimately Alex who knocked it down.


All anxiously awaiting the candy to fall.  Bags at the ready.  LOL.  


And the candy goers are off!!  I tried to tell them I stuffed it w/ cauliflower and carrots but they did not have it.  So, it was licorice, candy, gum, etc.  Goodies found by all.

I will have more pictures.  Right now though, Bojan is doing sorting b/c that's what he can do w/ limited mobility.  Giving him tasks to keep him busy as he's bored.  Bored of movies, video games, reading, etc.  He wants to MOVE. I may take him for a walk in the wheelchair later I think.  We'll see.  Just getting up our yard is very bumpy and it still hurts him to do that.  More pics to come.  We're trying to do some Halloween decorating today, cleaning up, catching up on some organizing, and laundry of course.  It's great to slowly get caught up.  Stay tuned for more pictures. 

Happy Birthday Nik!!!

Oh my goodness.  I can't believe it is actually here.  Nik's birthday is today, Sunday, October 3rd.  He was born in Murmansk, Russia.  He was the 5th child born in a family w/ 6 kids.  I wished I could have been the one there to see him but do know he must have been very well loved.  He was with his family for a few months before being released to the orphanage.  I can't imagine having to make that decision.  Nik had 4 birthdays celebrated without us.  He had just turned 4yo when we brought him home.  A baby in many ways indeed.  This little boy has made up for lost time.  He is growing into quite a big little boy.  Love it!  Nik was such a sweet little thing when he came home....



Now, how could anyone on earth say no to that referral picture?!  Who knew just how many more birthdays this little guy had to celebrate.  Had he stayed, this could have been his last picture ever taken.  It would have been his last birthday most likely as many do not live very long after going to the mental institution.  More on those places one of these days.  But, he has a forever family to celebrate birthday after birthday.  Look at him now... 


8 years old today!  This was from his birthday party on Saturday.  Happy as can be.  First four years of his life he missed these celebrations about his life.  Despite us having a very chaotic week, there was no way we were going to let him miss this celebration.  This was a day about him, spent w/ friends, laughing in the sunshine, and just enjoying life.  

Though I know we can't do the "event" birthdays that so many here do, I think the kids have a blast anyhow.  Good sign when they don't want to leave--LOL.  Kids like things simple w/ a little sweetness.  That's what we gave him. We bobbed for apples, had a pinata, cake & ice cream , and countless hours of playing outside w/ friends.  He was in heaven.  He thoroughly enjoyed himself. 

Nik is our "baby boy."  He is the youngest of all the boys and will continue to be so.  I guess I've always seen Nik as our baby as developmentally, that's where he was when he came home.   Our new boy coming home is not a baby.  He is two years older than Nik.  And that is perfect.  Nik, I had wanted to remain the youngest boy no matter what.  I think it fits him.  The other kids like to nuture him quite a bit.  In other words, Nik being the "baby boy" of the family is his place & where he should be.  I should no longer use the word baby though.  Far from it.  He is my little man for sure.  He is by all means a normal, active 8 year old little boy now.  Loves the ladies too.  LOL.  Nik knows his bugs.  He's sweet, yet has that little devilish side to him too.  Nik has brought so much joy to our lives I can not even put it into words.  We love him to pieces and are very thankful we are able to celebrate his 8th birthday with him.  I will have pictures up of his party on the next post.  didn't take a whole lot as I was too busy talking and getting some things done.  Lots, and lots of disasters yesterday but we overcame that and had a fun party.  More to come on Nik's party in the next post.